Gladys Berejiklian wants incentives such as venue bans for those refusing coronavirus vaccine


NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian believes hospitality venues and businesses should be allowed to refuse entry to people who are not vaccinated against coronavirus.

The first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are due to be rolled out in Australia in mid-to-late February, and Ms Berejiklian said there should be incentives in place to encourage people to get the jab.

“I don’t ever like to force anybody to do anything,” she told Nine Radio this morning.

“But we’d like there to be an incentive system where people are encouraged to have it because it means they can do all these things which they may otherwise not have been able to do.”

The NSW Premier again called for more people to get tested.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

There were no new locally acquired COVID-19 infections in NSW in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.

Eight cases were recorded in overseas travellers.

Whole genome sequencing suggests the seven cases reported over the weekend are linked to the Berala cluster, NSW Health said.

“Investigations and contact tracing are underway to establish the route of acquisition,” Deputy Chief Health Officer Jeremy McAnulty said.

“While an epidemiological link has not yet been made, there is the possibility that others in the community may have the virus.”

Workplaces will have a say

Ms Berejiklian said discussions would be taking place within her own Government and between the state and federal governments to determine how people could be “incentivised” to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Premier said she expected those discussions to take place over the next few weeks.

“But already airlines have indicated that if you’re not vaccinated, you can’t travel overseas,” she said.

“We will also consider whether we allow venues to [do that] — and venues do that already, people make up their own rules if they run a business or have a workplace about what they feel is COVID-safe.

“Whilst it’s the Federal Government’s responsibility in terms of the vaccine and the rollout, all workplaces and state governments will have a say in encouraging people to take it.”

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) is currently assessing several vaccine candidates, including the Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines for approval.

Ms Berejiklian said Australia had some of the strictest regulations in the world to approve new vaccines, and said any vaccine approved by the TGA would be safe.

“Please know that nothing would get approved unless it was safe,” she said.

“I want people to start thinking about the vaccine, how they would feel about it if they were offered it and I would encourage everyone to take up that offer.

“The more people that are vaccinated, the greater likelihood that we can have a return to normality as we know it.”

A total of 8,773 tests were completed in the reporting period, down from 12,764 on the previous day.

Ms Berejiklian again urged more people to get tested.

“Given where we are in the pandemic we really need to get those testing numbers up so that we can feel confident in moving forward and easing some of those restrictions.”

Dr McAnulty said the drop in daily testing numbers was “an increasing concern”.

“NSW Health renews its calls for people to get tested if they are experiencing even the mildest of symptoms,” he said.

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2021 Australian Open COVID crisis deepens, Pfizer vaccine deaths in Norway spark concern, worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops 2 million


Three mystery cases of the same strain of COVID-19 that erupted within hours of each other at opposite ends of Sydney’s northern beaches are at the centre of the hunt for the outbreak’s patient zero.

However, the popular theory that Sydney’s latest wave of cases was spawned by a celebrity or a business identity self-isolating on the beaches’ affluent northern peninsula appears to have been debunked by authorities.

NSW Health has revealed it did not grant any exemptions to isolate outside of hotel quarantine to any local residents in the month leading up to the outbreak.

Find out what else health authorities know so far about “patient zero”.

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UK Coronavirus LIVE: Matt Hancock says UK ‘on home straight’ as vaccine rollout expands and Government looks at March lockdown end


H

ealth Secretary Matt Hancock has said the UK is “nearly on the home straight” out of the pandemic as the vaccine rollout gathers pace.

But Government sources have “dismissed as speculation” reports that every adult in Britain could be vaccinated by the end of June. Other reports state the government is looking at relaxing lockdown restrictions in March.

Live updates

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More here on Dominic Raab saying it is the Government plan to have offered all UK adults a jab by September 

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UK lecturers warn of strike action over ‘unsafe’ conditions

The union representing  lecturers has ruled out face to face this academic year over covid fears.

Members of the University and College Union are to ballot members with the threat of strike action if the government tries to force them back onto campuses. 

The moves comes as the National Union of Students called for universities to stop charging students fees and offer them rent rebates while they are unable to use their accommodation. 

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Tokyo reports 1,592 new covid cases

Japan has extended a state of emergency in Toyko after 1,592 new cases were reported in the city.

The government has announced seven more zones in and around the city where restrictions are to be beefed up.

Tokyo is the host city for the Olympics scheduled for the summer.

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Sir Ed Davey: ‘Gavin Williamson is worst education secretary we’ve had in living memory’

Sir Ed Davey has said that Gavin Williamson is “the worst education secretary we’ve had in living memory”.

Asked whether university students should be financially recompensed for the disruption of their education during the pandemic and who should pay for it, the Lib Dem leader said: “I think it should be the Government.

“I think the Government has really let down universities, it has let down schools, frankly. I mean the fiasco from Gavin Williamson, the way he has mismanaged this whole crisis for our children and young people and students.

“That is why I have called for him to resign. I think he is the worst education secretary we’ve had in living memory.”

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Government ‘looking at quarantine hotels and enhanced monitoring’

Dominc Raab told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday when asked about the reports: “We will consider all the measures in the round.”

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Dominic Raab dismisses claims that the Government had been “too slow” in setting up border measures

Dominic Raab dismissed claims that the Government had been “too slow” in setting up border measures to prevent the importation of new coronavirus variants.

He told the Andrew Marr show on the BBC: “I don’t accept that we have been too slow in this – we are broadly the same pace in terms of Canada and Germany.”

He said “all the potential measures” would be kept under review when asked about quarantine hotels.

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Government hopes it can start to lift lockdown measures in March

Dominic Raab told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: : “I think it is true to say that when we get to a situation in the early spring, perhaps March, if we succeed in hitting those targets – we have made good process so far – we can start to think about the phased transition out of the national lockdown.

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Lockdown won’t be lifted ‘with one big bang’ with March key month

Dominic Raab said the government was looking to March for the lifting of the lockdown but warned the process would take time. 

The Foreign Secretary told Sky’s Sophie Ridge programme: “It won’t be done in a big bang but a phased way.”

He said the decision on whether restrictions could be eased would be made in March. 

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Foreign secretary: ‘we can’t guarantee people will get second jab within 12 weeks’

The government  cannot guarantee people will get their second Pfizer jab within 12 weeks as planned.

He told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday show: “That’s the aim.”

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Raab: ‘Don’t book summer summer holiday’

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab today said he did not think people should book summer holidays despite plans to lift the lockdown in March.

He told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday programme: “I don’t think it’s appropriate for you book a holiday”.

Raab said people should only plan essential travel.

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Quick jabs – Britain’s vaccine roll-out gets off to a fast start | Britain


WHEN IT COMES to the race to get out the covid-19 vaccine, there is Israel, which has given out 23 doses for every 100 people, and then there is everywhere else. In second and third place, some way behind, sit the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which are relying on a jab without published data from late-stage trials (see article). Next is Britain, the speediest big country.

British medics were quick off the mark with early approvals for the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca-Oxford University vaccines, and the roll-out has recently sped up. On January 6th, 1.3m doses had been delivered. A week later, 3.1m had, a number equivalent to 4.5 doses per 100 people. Denmark, Britain’s nearest rival in Europe, has done 2.

Though fast, the pace still needs to accelerate further to meet the government’s target of offering everyone in a big group—which includes people over the age of 70 and front-line health- and social-care workers—a jab by the middle of February. To meet it, around 2.5m doses will have to go out each week. Ministers promise they will.

The roll-out is not without flaws. The government has provided little information on, for instance, who exactly has received jabs, although more is promised soon. Care-home vaccinations seem to be getting done more slowly than in other countries that got off to a quick start. And observers have raised concerns about the lack of ventilation in mass-vaccination centres, in which elderly and vulnerable people congregate.

These are serious problems. They are also ones most of Europe would love to have—which is not a position Britain has been in for most of the pandemic.

Editor’s note: Some of our covid-19 coverage is free for readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. For more stories and our pandemic tracker, see our hub

This article appeared in the Britain section of the print edition under the headline “Quick jabs”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project

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Coronavirus updates live: Global COVID-19 death toll hits 2 million; anger over Victoria's borders as tennis players arrive; NSW considers vaccine phone 'ticks'



Global COVID-19 death toll hits two million as Victorian anger grows over border restrictions while tennis players enter the state. NSW considers vaccine phone ‘ticks’.

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6 EU countries urge bloc to address Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine delays, as Canada also flags supply issues — RT World News



Six EU governments have written to the bloc’s executive to call for action as deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech are being delayed, while supply issues have also been reported in Canada.

The health ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia called on the EU Commission to ensure the “stability and transparency of timely deliveries” of the Pfizer jab in a letter on Friday.

“This situation is unacceptable. Not only does it impact the planned vaccination schedules, it also decreases the credibility of the vaccination process,” the letter reads, according to Reuters.

Pfizer will also temporarily reduce shipments of the vaccine to Canada while the company expands production at its manufacturing facility in the Puurs area of Belgium, Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday.

Speaking during a news briefing, the minister added that Pfizer’s production strategy was “reducing deliveries to all countries” and that Canada’s vaccination targets should be back on track by March, without going into further detail.



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Pfizer reducing Covid-19 vaccine deliveries to Europe while it steps up production, Norway says


Earlier on Friday, Norwegian health authorities issued a similar statement, explaining that their expected shipment of 43,875 Pfizer vaccine doses next week would be cut to 36,075.

Ireland will also experience delays of three to four weeks due to Pfizer’s plans, the chief of the country’s Covid-19 vaccine taskforce, Brian MacCraith, said on Friday, adding that authorities had “planned for this sort of eventuality.

A Pfizer spokesperson said that the company was “working hard to deliver more doses than originally forecasted this year,” while stating its goal is to increase capacity from 1.3 billion doses to two billion in 2021.

MEPs are to debate the “need for more clarity and transparency concerning vaccine contracts” at the EU’s first plenary session of the year on Tuesday.

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Russia Working With Venezuela to Ship Sputnik V Coronavirus Vaccine, Envoy Says



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Sputnik International

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https://sputniknews.com/latam/202101151081774235-russia-working-with-venezuela-to-ship-sputnik-v-coronavirus-vaccine-envoy-says/

BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Moscow and Caracas are exploring ways to ensure the delivery of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to Venezuela, which is expected to start by the end of January, Russia’s ambassador to Venezuela, Sergei Melik-Bagdasarov, told Sputnik on Friday.

“The Russian and Venezuelan sides signed a contract at the end of last year for the supply of Sputnik V vaccines to Venezuela. The first batch is planned to be delivered this month. Currently, issues related to logistics are being worked out”, the diplomat said.

In October 2020, Venezuela received Sputnik V as part of phase III clinical trials. In December, the Latin American country signed an agreement with Russia for the delivery of the vaccine to kickstart mass vaccination. Venezuela is expecting to receive the first batch of 10 million doses of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

Sputnik V is the first ever officially registered coronavirus vaccine. In addition to Russia, Sputnik V was registered by Algeria, Argentine, Belarus, Bolivia and Serbia, while clinical trials continue in Belarus, Egypt, India, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

The vaccine’s dosing regimen is two doses per patient at least 21 days apart. Interim clinical results from latest studies in mid-December established its efficacy at 91.4 percent and at 100 percent against severe cases.



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Experts call for calm on Pfizer vaccine supply after pre-order ‘guessing game’


Monash University Professor Colin Pouton, who has been working on an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine project in Melbourne, said it was not worth speculating on whether Australia should have negotiated for a larger order of the Pfizer vaccine last year.

At the time of negotiations, there was no complete data on the effectiveness of vaccines like Pfizer’s and it was not known how many doses could be produced.

“When the government were thinking about negotiating, I don’t think they had anything to go on,” he said.

“It’s not something where we should be too critical of the government, though we can act from now.”

Professor Pouton said Australia’s plans to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine was a positive because it was shown to be safe and effective. Beyond this, there is still scope for the country to play the long game and consider investing in mRNA vaccine manufacturing so that vaccines like Pfizer’s can one day be made in Australia, he said.

“Given this is all going to be a long game, one option is to manufacture under licence here. It is something that can happen, but not overnight.”

Adam Kamradt-Scott, a global health security expert and associate professor at the University of Sydney, said buying vaccines under advanced purchasing agreements was a complicated process and the Morrison government had to balance a range of risks when pre-ordering products like Pfizer’s.

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“The decision on how much to order of each vaccine is really a bit of a guessing game. It is an educated guess based on preliminary vaccine data, but it’s a guess nonetheless to then estimate the quantity required in order to achieve a reasonable level of protection for the Australian community.”

He said the government would have had to make its initial pitch for vaccines last year while also being mindful that if it ordered too many doses of a product that didn’t work, it was running the risk of still having to pay for it.

“These types of agreements do have financial risk involved,” he said.

Modelling this week from financial services giant Morningstar predicts the global vaccine rollout will take years. Global herd immunity may not be achieved until 2023 and this largely comes down to constraints on supply of doses.

Professor Pouton said the reality is that given global demand, it’s understandable Australia would find it difficult to order more Pfizer doses immediately.

“At the moment, we just don’t have access to those vaccines anyway, whether we like it or not,” he said.

Pfizer has been tight-lipped about its contracts with the Australian government here, but a spokeswoman said this week the company would “continue to work closely with the government to support their vaccine implementation plans.”

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Coronavirus updates LIVE: 2021 Australian Open to go ahead in Melbourne as Andy Murray tests positive to COVID-19; AstraZeneca vaccine delays advised against



Australian Open players have started arriving in Melbourne, while the nation braces itself for more arrivals carrying the highly contagious UK strain of the coronavirus.

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How the vaccine could influence cross-industry supply chains


  • First, it was a race to come up with a vaccine. Now, the focus is on distributing vaccines as quickly as possible
  • Vaccine distribution will face challenges, but the stakes of success could breed innovation to inspire supply chains worldwide

As Covid-19 brought the economy to a screeching halt, modern supply chains were also tested as it is faced with a crisis-time stress test.

When it came to fighting the outbreak itself, there were pileups, shortages, and other snafus as countries scrambled to meet the demand for protective equipment. Now, immense strain looms ahead for the pharmaceutical industry’s supply chain — one that’s not exactly built for speed and scale —  as countries around the world begin distributing vaccines.

According to Wall Street Journal, Pfizer will deliver only 50 million doses of its vaccine this year, half as many as initially targeted, because of supply-chain issues. It took longer than expected to source the necessary raw materials in large quantities, Pfizer said, while also noting that its clinical trial of the vaccine concluded later than first planned. 

Coming up with a vaccine quickly is hard enough, but distributing one worldwide offers a host of other variables, and conflicting forces may work against the effort.

This is likely to be one of the biggest supply chain management challenges we have faced this century.

“A successful rapid deployment of any proven vaccine doesn’t just rely on the amount of vaccine that can be produced it relies on multiple factors such as infrastructure, information systems, and having a workforce that can administer the vaccine,” said Cranfield University Professor of Supply Chain Strategy Professor Richard Wilding, to Supply Chain Management Review.

Distribution to entire populations was initially assumed to be the biggest challenge. But the intricacies of short-shelf life, cold chain distribution, and safety concerns for workers are another obstacle. Vaccination supply chains also face the risk of cyberattacks, as found by IBM previously, whether driven by motivations to seed ransomware or conduct espionage. 

While logistics is only one part of a successful supply chain, the world has yet to break the code of the Covid-19 vaccination supply chain.

What it means for businesses

Outside of the challenge of vaccine transportation and distribution, supply chains around the world have adapted and innovated since the beginnings of the outbreak, building in more resilience and agility.

Across industries, businesses are realizing that the old way of doing things isn’t sufficient. Data-sharing among partners and collaboration is key in order to plan and scale production more smoothly, but so too is self-reliance where possible – if you can make it yourself, don’t source it from halfway around the world.

The challenges of vaccine distribution, and the weight of what’s at stake, will surely breed innovation that will inspire many supply chain leaders, helping them to overcome future challenges and disruption.



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